(Today’s post comes courtesy of Jennifer Reitmeyer, the owner of Firebrand Messaging, a U.S.-based copywriting and content marketing company serving clients around the world. We invited her to share her strategies to help our readers make their own blogging easier!)
We’ve all been there. Sitting in front of a blank computer screen, watching the cursor blink. Knowing that we should be blogging for our business (even if we’re not sure exactly why) and yet not having a clue what to write.
Sound familiar? If so, then you’ve probably done what many people do: shut down the computer, leaving your blog sad and neglected, and missing out on all that a quality blog presence can do for your business.
The thing is, you (and your business) deserve all the benefits of blogging. And I promise it’s not actually as hard as our writer’s block would have us believe! That’s why I’m excited to share some tips on making it easier – even enjoyable (gasp!) – to keep up with your blog.
The first step to getting over the blogging hurdle is to really understand why having a business blog is so important. Knowing this can help guide you in creating good content and keep you motivated when your enthusiasm dips.
Here are some of the things a good blog can do for your business:
- It boosts your website’s SEO. Search engines, especially Google, love quality content. Old-school “tricks” like keyword stuffing no longer work; you need to be populating your site with relevant., engaging content, and a blog is the perfect way to do that. I know I don’t need to tell you the importance of ranking high on search engines!
- It helps you gauge interest. By tracking your traffic to each blog post, as well as any likes and shares when you cross-promote your posts to social media, you can get a great sense of what interests your readers. This can guide you in developing new services or products for your business, because you’ll know what your potential customers like.
- It gives your business that “human touch.” While the content on your website is pretty evergreen – meaning, aside from very occasional updates, it stays pretty much the same – your blog enables you to share all kinds of announcements, promotions and behind-the-scenes peeks at your business. Much more interesting than the typical corporate text, right?
- It helps you reach the right kind of customer. The variety of content you put out on a blog offers endless opportunities to build connections with people. Naturally, people who feel connected to your business are more likely to buy from you, and are more likely to be enjoyable to work with – what business owner wouldn’t appreciate that?
Even knowing how a blog can benefit you, you may still encounter some common hurdles when trying to develop content. Here are some of the roadblocks that can trip up any blogger:
- Over-ambitious publishing schedule. If you’re new to blogging, or are trying to revive an inactive blog, it’s always best to start slow. See if you can maintain two posts a month for a month or two, then consider moving up to one post a week. Even if you catch the writing bug and find yourself eager to churn out content, it’s best to save some of those posts for the future, because it’s easy to burn out. Maintaining a schedule that’s manageable for you (and predictable for your readers) will benefit your business far more than constant starts and stops.
- Overthinking it. Many people aren’t natural writers, and those people seem to put the most pressure on themselves to make every post perfect. It really doesn’t have to be that way! Not every post is going to be epic; instead, you should just focus on sharing your knowledge and experience in a natural, conversational way. Blog posts are part of a larger platform – it’s the collective quality and consistency that really matters.
- Playing it (too) safe. Remember, your blog is intended to provide a personal voice to your business. It’s a way to show some personality and attract likeminded customers. Therefore, it’s important to keep your posts authentic, whatever that means to you. Writing generic content, in an effort to appeal to everyone, will usually result in not really appealing to anyone.
Ready to jump into your business blogging? Here are my top five strategies for simplifying the task:
- Plan ahead. Utilizing an editorial calendar, in which you map out a month’s worth (or more!) of post topics, makes it much easier to create a variety of content without the pressure of coming up with ideas on the spot.
- Write posts in batches. If you can block out a few hours, you can crank out multiple posts at a time – this strategy of “batching” has been proven to increase productivity. Not to mention the added bonus of getting your blogging out of the way so you can move on to other things!
- Use a series-based framework. A group of posts on the same general topic, published on a consistent schedule, are almost always less stressful to write than one-offs. It’s just like how topics like “Throwback Thursday” are popular on social media – creating content around a theme seems to come more easily to many of us, and it’s something readers can anticipate.
- Take the easy road. Of course, putting out quality content matters – I’d never suggest otherwise. Keep in mind, though, that we all have topics that are easier for us to talk about than others. Whether they’re related to our own personal interests or are just an area of special expertise, leaning on our favorite subjects is the best way to churn out content efficiently and effortlessly.
- Invite contributions from others. This may actually be the easiest of all easy roads! Consider soliciting guest posts from colleagues, which not only takes the writing off your plate but also increases your traffic as the guest post author shares your blog with his/her network. Pretty sweet!
Business blogging requires an investment of time and a willingness to put yourself out there in creating your posts. However, I can promise there’s nothing better than the feeling of really engaging your ideal customers and knowing they’re more excited than ever to work with your business!